Taxi industry protest kick-starts

STAFF REPORTER

MASERU – Commuters were on Tuesday morning left stranded in most routes around the Maseru city with the beginning of protests against uncontrolled “invasion of pirate taxis” in the industry.

Passengers have braced themselves for the expected week-long protests that were also sparked a 2018 push by the taxi owners to increase taxi fare to M15 in the 10km radius Maseru local routes – a massive over 120 percent hike.Taxi operators argue with current fares, coupled with the influx of pirate taxis, they were no longer able to stay afloat in this industry; they, as a result, have taken their taxis from the roads for the days of the protest.

While scores of commuters were seen milling various pickup points in villages in the outskirts of town, a large were observed walking into the city centre going to work.

The largely peaceful protect action was, however, marked by heated confrontation between the police and the protestors along the Main South I Road at Ha Matala; reports of burning of tyres to block roads and stoning of some vehicles was also reported at Lower Thamae on the road going into Motimposo.

Armed police officers were seen in these areas trying to calm the situation.

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